Members of Parliament were summoned from summer vacation to attend the emergency session held in London. Many people, including many from Johnson's Conservative Party expressed strong regrets at the chaos in Afghanistan. The Taliban have taken control of the country 20 years after they were driven from power by an international force led by the U.S. following the September 11 attacks.
Johnson stated that he was forced to accept the U.S. President Joe Biden's decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan by August 31.
He stated that the West would not be able to continue the U.S.-led mission without American logistics and U.S. airpower, and without American might.
He said, "I think it's an illusion to believe there's appetite amongst our partners for a continuing military presence or for a NATO-imposed military solution in Afghanistan."
The Taliban used the impending withdrawal by all NATO forces to quickly sweep through Afghanistan. They reached Kabul on Sunday. This was a remarkable advance that was quicker than expected, if it wasn't unexpected. As Western countries evacuate Afghan citizens and employees, thousands fled Kabul Airport.
Keir Starmer, leader in the opposition Labour Party, stated that there was a serious miscalculation about the Afghan forces' resilience and a shocking complacency by our government regarding the Taliban threat.
Johnson's Conservative colleagues, including his predecessor Theresa May, made some of the most pointed comments during the debate. They asked Johnson if he had ever hoped that "on a wings and a pray it'd all be alright on the night."
She asked, "We brag about global Britain but where is global Britain in Kabul?" "Our actions will determine if we have a successful foreign policy strategy, and not our words."
The Taliban are now in control of Afghanistan. The immediate priority for the British government is to evacuate some 4,000 U.K. citizens currently in Afghanistan as well as the thousands of Afghans who helped the U.K. in the past 20 years.
Johnson stated that a new program for refugee settlement would allow up to 22,000 vulnerable Afghans to seek asylum in the U.K. over the next few years. This includes 5,000 this year. This figure is in addition the approximately 5,000 Afghan allies the U.K. is trying to evacuate from Kabul’s international airport.
Johnson stated that the U.K. would try to unite the international community around a "clear strategy for dealing with the Taliban." He said that he intended to convene a meeting of G-7 leaders within the next few days.
Johnson spoke to Biden and other leaders about Afghanistan recently and stated that "We are clear" and that any country should not recognize any new Kabul regime prematurely or bilaterally.
He said, "We will judge the regime on its choices and its actions rather than its words."
Legislators and activists immediately attacked the refugee plan as it is similar to a 2015 refugee package for Syria. They claimed that it did not meet British standards and was inadequate.
"I don't know what to say." Paul Farthing, an ex Marine who runs a Kabul animal sanctuary, said that this could have been avoided. "We have decimated this country, and I don’t see anyone regretting what they’ve done."
Farthing is asking the British government for 25 Afghans to be accepted by his charity. This includes young female vets in their 20s. "What is their future?" They will probably end up marrying Taliban fighters... Do you think the West is okay with this? We've just created it.
Johnson stated that authorities have so far managed to secure the safe return of 306 British citizens as well as 2,052 Afghans. Laurie Bristow (Britain's ambassador in Kabul), said that 700 people were evacuated on Tuesday by his team. The goal is to get 1,000 people out every day. He stated that he has the ability to expedite the evacuation operations by using his days, not weeks.
Bristow stated that the Taliban are supporting the operation, and his team is working together with them "wherever we need to, on a tactical, pragmatic level."
Many U.K lawmakers consider Britain's withdrawal a major failure in the Afghanistan mission. 457 British soldiers died trying to stabilize the country.
Let's not talk about forever wars. "Let's stop talking about forever wars," said Tom Tugendhat (chair of the influential Foreign Affairs Committee) and former soldier who served in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other parts of Afghanistan.
While lawmakers were discussing the Afghan crisis, many former translators for British Army protested outside Parliament. They held banners and signs with images of gravely injured people in Afghanistan with the caption, "Protect our loved one."
There were around 200 people in attendance, with dozens more joining the translators. Children and women came with posters, flags and red balloons bearing the Afghanistan flags on their cheeks.